I would like to introduce the hermit:


He was born in Egypt. To love God, as the most powerful good! – Love for God has defined his life, therefore he lived a self-restrained life: in asceticism.

The asceticism: penance, for the perfection of the soul. Systematic curbing and suppression of forces and desires considered inferior in the human.

– He, with 35 like-minded pious people together arrived in Cyprus, that to live in asceticism.

– He cured diseases

– the stories about him reached the other ascetics of the island

– the community expanded with 39 ascetics

– together they continued their journey to Turkey: Attalia (now Antalya)

– 24 joined the community

– God must be worshiped and glorified! – but the people glorified them, therefore the ascetic community of 98 people prayed to God. They asked God to show them a place, where they can live a restrained life in asceticism.

GPS is very important! – because there are no street names in Western Crete. GPS:

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– 1300 – the ascetic community started from Turkey to Crete by ship

– they could not reach Crete due to a severe storm, so they docked on the island of Gavdos

– the storm passed after 24 days, when the ascetics continued on their way to Crete

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They first settled near the village of Azogires Paleochoras: in the caves of Zoures and Characas

The caves are very difficult to reach.

Zoures Cave:

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Characas Cave:

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– Then He found the cave, which is 700 meters from Marathokefala, 1.5 km from Spilia, and 3 km from Kolymbari. This is today Cave Saint John – Σπήλαιο Αγίου Ιωάννη. He lived in this cave 3 years.

– After then wandered on and settled in the cave of the Avlaki Gorge.

– He lived with fasting and prayer. It was in this cave that he found the coveted relationship with God that he was constantly seeking.


– the years, which he spent in asceticism weakened him, he was no longer able to straighten up

– on October 6 – when he crawled out to pick wild herbs, a hunter confused him with a beast. The hunter with his bow, wounded him to death.

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– in the pre-Christian era the cave already served as a sanctuary, signs of this were found:

– a marble altar preserved in the museum of the parish of Spilia

– a marble children’s head


– the cave, richly decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, has a unique atmosphere

– if we enter the great hall, the church from the 15th century unfolds before us- services are held in the cave to this day

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